Matthew 7:21 (ESV)
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
These words of Jesus come near the end of His Sermon on the Mount. If you remember, He starts out His Sermon on the Mount with the Beatitudes (Blessed are the poor...). He begins by talking about those who are blessed by God. Here near the end, He gives warnings. This warning is perhaps the most frightening. How do we know if Jesus will truly know us? How do we know if we are crying out to Him, “Lord, Lord” in such a way that He will recognize us?
Jesus gives us the answer in the second half of this verse: the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. This begs the questions, “What is the Father’s will?”
John 6:39 (ESV)
39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
Believe in Jesus. That is the will of the Father. We find that faith in Jesus is the way to heaven. This is found all throughout the Bible. But how do we know if we have faith? That is what Jesus is talking about in the Sermon on the Mount. He is telling us how our faith should shape our lives. Our faith is not separated from how we live. Our faith impacts our lives in such a way that others should see it. How should they see our faith?
Matthew 7:12 (ESV)
12 “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
We call this the Golden Rule. But the only way to truly live out the Golden Rule is to live by faith in Jesus. Our faith in Jesus will cause us to live differently. We will stop living for ourselves and start living for others. The good news is that we don’t make these changes on our own. The Holy Spirit, the same Spirit that gives us faith, also begins to make the changes in our lives. This is what Jesus is talking about in Matthew 7:17 (ESV): 17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit.
James, the brother of Jesus, talks about this in his letter. James 2:17-18 (ESV))
17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
Faith in Jesus is more than just knowledge; it is a lifestyle. The Holy Spirit is the One who helps us to live out our faith in our daily lives. How are you doing living out your faith?